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The New Yorker on 'The Unbeautiful Game'

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by 21, Jan 17, 2007.

  1. heyabbott

    heyabbott Well-Known Member

    Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport! The thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat! The human drama of athletic competition!
  2. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Word gets around in jockland. Any reporter who's established a reputation as being good at their job is going to be treated REAL warily by athletes who'll be the subjects of a book by said reporter. That's simple self-preservation. Look at it this way, if Bob Woodward called and said he thought you'd be a grwat subject for his next book, would you welcome him into your life as a bosom buddy, or immediately spend all your spare time shredded your financial records?
    John is a friend. Charles P. is one of my closest friends. I hope neither one will mind if I say I'm sure that sometime during their explorations of the Ravens and Brady, Brian Billick goit a phone call from Bob Knight, and Tom got one from Tiger Woods.
  3. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    Man, that was a bad title for the article -- I thought it was going to be about how, in today's NFL, physicality has eclipsed "ballet" (I'm thinking of the famous, beautiful NFL Films piece co-produced, I believe, by Andrea Kremer).

    It's true of American life, yes, but for those outside the game-- i.e. fans and viewers-- the game gives a lot of joy. In fact, it serves as an escape from "American sadness."

    My brother is in the first year of his surgical residency and never has time for sleep, much less fun. I talked to him last week on a rare night off, and I asked him what he was going to do. He said he and his wife were going to get some rabbit ears (the don't have cable - why would they?) and watch the playoff games.

    I guarantee you, as they sat there happily vegging out on their couch watching those games, none of the crap in that article even remotely crossed their minds.
  4. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I know. But if you can't get excited about that guy face-planting down the entire mountain, you cannot work in sports.
  5. There was a period in which professional football was decidedly not boring. It was when there was something called the AFL.
    And in re: the dynastic Packers -- didn't both Paul Hornung AND Max McGee play for that team?
  6. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Do you think it's boring now?
  7. 21 -- Not at all. Not as raffish as it once was. (Neither is any other sport, including, and most especially, golf.) But the game itself is still exciting on the field. Blount's book, by the way, is the greatest book ever written about any one team, ever. It benefitted from the facts a) that Blount wrote it (Find, if you can, his essay entitled "Things In The Wrong Hands." You will embarrass yourself in public) and b) that those Steelers were a howling mad bunch. Did he mention steroids? Yes. Did he dwell on them? No. But he drew what is still the best, and most nuanced, portrait of Terry Bradshaw. And the moment when he and Mel Blount speculate that one of Roy's ancestors may have, well, OWNED one of Mel's is priceless.
  8. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    I read this story a few days ago and found it something of a letdown. I thought it wandered a little, got bogged down and didn't really have a strong thesis. Regardless, football has definitely lost its sense of personality, probably because the league has tried so hard to legislate personality out of the game. I liked it MUCH better back in the day when Fred Biletnikoff was down the sideline smoking a cigarette while the defense was on the field. Of course, Biletnikoff had to be careful how he held the cigarette to keep the sticky stuff off. I've always disliked the whole "back in the day" judgementalism so common in our business but I guess I'm one of them when it comes to pro football.
  9. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    "Things in the Wrong Hands" can be heard here:


    First, there is a reading from “The Secret of Walter Mitty by James Thurber,” read by Dick Cavett. It lasts until about 14:27 into the link.

    Then, “Things in the Wrong Hands,” by Roy Blount Jr., read by Isaiah Sheffer.
  10. henryhenry

    henryhenry Member

    not as boring as the NBA

    what kills the NFL for me are all the play stoppages for commercial breaks - it seems to get worse every year
  11. statrat

    statrat Member

    Wow. Thank you New Yorker. That was about the longest, most convoluted way to say "Sports today are boring, the good old days were so much better."
  12. Boom_70

    Boom_70 Well-Known Member

    Mr FOTF

    If this is true then you have shown us that mr gopnick has not clothes and I was roped in

    The passage the got me was this one -- one that I thought could only have been written by someone who had sat in the swirling winds of Shea back in the day.

    I've been a Jets fan for forty years, and it's hard for me to believe this full hand of good fortune. Namath, beyond reason or even the bonds of fandom, got me through some bitter bits of my mixed-up adolescence. I loved him, we all loved him, not just for his famous upset win in Super Bowl III but for his slouch and his white shoes and his quick release--that upper body torquing around to shoot the ball out to George Sauer, Jr., never needing to have the back foot planted--and for the mildly Homeric drama of his career. Crippled early in his football life by bad knees of a kind the surgeons just don't make anymore, he would disappear for half a season, reappear to throw for four hundred yards and four or five touchdowns, and then disappear again into a welter of missed games and interceptions. As with Bobby Orr, his great on-ice contemporary, his fragility was part of his resonance.
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